skip to main content


This content will become publicly available on October 1, 2024

Title: Biochemical investigation of the tryptophan biosynthetic enzyme anthranilate phosphoribosyltransferase in plants
While mammals require the essential amino acid tryptophan (Trp) in their diet, plants and microorganisms synthesize Trp de novo. The five-step Trp pathway starts with the shikimate pathway product, chorismate. Chorismate is converted to the aromatic compound anthranilate, which is then conjugated to a phosphoribosyl sugar in the second step by anthranilate phosphoribosyltransferase (PAT1). As a single-copy gene in plants, all fixed carbon flux to indole and Trp for protein synthesis, specialized metabolism, and auxin hormone biosynthesis proceeds through PAT1. While bacterial PAT1s have been studied extensively, plant PAT1s have escaped biochemical characterization. Using a structure model, we identified putative active site residues that were variable across plants and kinetically characterized six PAT1s (Arabidopsis thaliana (thale cress), Citrus sinensis (sweet orange), Pistacia vera (pistachio), Juglans regia (English walnut), Selaginella moellendorffii (spike moss), and Physcomitrium patens (spreading earth-moss)). We probed the catalytic efficiency, substrate promiscuity, and regulation of these six enzymes and found that the C. sinensis PAT1 is highly specific for its cognate substrate, anthranilate. Investigations of site-directed mutants of the A. thaliana PAT1 uncovered an active site residue that contributes to promiscuity. While Trp inhibits bacterial PAT1 enzymes, the six plant PAT1s that we tested were not modu- lated by Trp. Instead, the P. patens PAT1 was inhibited by tyrosine, and the S. moellendorffii PAT1 was inhibited by phenylalanine. This structure-informed biochemical examina- tion identified variations in activity, efficiency, specificity, and enzyme-level regulation across PAT1s from evolutionarily diverse plants.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
2214883
NSF-PAR ID:
10502050
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
ASBMB
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Biological Chemistry
Volume:
299
Issue:
10
ISSN:
0021-9258
Page Range / eLocation ID:
105197
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. SUMMARY

    Plants synthesize an array of volatile compounds, many of which serve ecological roles in attracting pollinators, deterring herbivores, and communicating with their surroundings. Methyl anthranilate (MeAA) is an anti‐herbivory defensive volatile responsible for grape aroma that is emitted by several agriculturally relevant plants, including citrus, grapes, and maize. Unlike maize, which uses a one‐step anthranilate methyltransferase (AAMT), grapes have been thought to use a two‐step pathway for MeAA biosynthesis. By mining available transcriptomics data, we identified two AAMTs inVitis vinifera(wine grape), as well as one ortholog in “Concord” grape. Many angiosperms methylate the plant hormone salicylic acid (SA) to produce methyl salicylate, which acts as a plant‐to‐plant communication molecule. Because theCitrus sinensis(sweet orange) SA methyltransferase can methylate both anthranilate (AA) and SA, we used this enzyme to examine the molecular basis of AA activity by introducing rational mutations, which identified several active site residues that increase activity with AA. Reversing this approach, we introduced mutations that imparted activity with SA in the maize AAMT, which uncovered different active site residues from those in the citrus enzyme. Sequence and phylogenetic analysis revealed that one of theVitisAAMTs shares an ancestor with jasmonic acid methyltransferases, similar to the AAMT from strawberry (Frageriasp.). Collectively, these data demonstrate the molecular mechanisms underpinning AA activity across methyltransferases and identify one‐step enzymes by which grapes synthesize MeAA.

     
    more » « less
  2. null (Ed.)
    Abstract The plant shikimate pathway directs bulk carbon flow toward biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids (AAAs, i.e. tyrosine, phenylalanine, and tryptophan) and numerous aromatic phytochemicals. The microbial shikimate pathway is feedback inhibited by AAAs at the first enzyme, 3-deoxy-d-arabino-heptulosonate 7-phosphate synthase (DHS). However, AAAs generally do not inhibit DHS activities from plant extracts and how plants regulate the shikimate pathway remains elusive. Here, we characterized recombinant Arabidopsis thaliana DHSs (AthDHSs) and found that tyrosine and tryptophan inhibit AthDHS2, but not AthDHS1 or AthDHS3. Mixing AthDHS2 with AthDHS1 or 3 attenuated its inhibition. The AAA and phenylpropanoid pathway intermediates chorismate and caffeate, respectively, strongly inhibited all AthDHSs, while the arogenate intermediate counteracted the AthDHS1 or 3 inhibition by chorismate. AAAs inhibited DHS activity in young seedlings, where AthDHS2 is highly expressed, but not in mature leaves, where AthDHS1 is predominantly expressed. Arabidopsis dhs1 and dhs3 knockout mutants were hypersensitive to tyrosine and tryptophan, respectively, while dhs2 was resistant to tyrosine-mediated growth inhibition. dhs1 and dhs3 also had reduced anthocyanin accumulation under high light stress. These findings reveal the highly complex regulation of the entry reaction of the plant shikimate pathway and lay the foundation for efforts to control the production of AAAs and diverse aromatic natural products in plants. 
    more » « less
  3. Specialized metabolites are structurally diverse and cell‐ or tissue‐specific molecules produced in restricted plant lineages. In contrast, primary metabolic pathways are highly conserved in plants and produce metabolites essential for all of life, such as amino acids and nucleotides. Substrate promiscuity – the capacity to accept non‐native substrates – is a common characteristic of enzymes, and its impact is especially apparent in generating specialized metabolite variation. However, promiscuity only leads to metabolic diversity when alternative substrates are available; thus, enzyme cellular and subcellular localization directly influence chemical phenotypes. We review a variety of mechanisms that modulate substrate availability for promiscuous plant enzymes. We focus on examples where evolution led to modification of the ‘cellular context’ through changes in cell‐type expression, subcellular relocalization, pathway sequestration, and cellular mixing via tissue damage. These varied mechanisms contributed to the emergence of structurally diverse plant specialized metabolites and inform future metabolic engineering approaches.

     
    more » « less
  4. Summary

    The conquest of land by plants was concomitant with, and possibly enabled by, the evolution of three‐dimensional (3D) growth. The mossPhyscomitrium patensprovides a model system for elucidating molecular mechanisms in the initiation of 3D growth. Here, we investigate whether the phytohormone ethylene, which is believed to have been a signal before land plant emergence, plays a role in 3D growth regulation inP. patens.

    We report ethylene controls 3D gametophore formation, based on results from exogenously applied ethylene and genetic manipulation ofPpEIN2, which is a central component in the ethylene signaling pathway.

    Overexpression (OE) ofPpEIN2activates ethylene responses and leads to earlier formation of gametophores with fewer gametophores produced thereafter, phenocopying ethylene‐treated wild‐type. Conversely,Ppein2knockout mutants, which are ethylene insensitive, show initially delayed gametophore formation with more gametophores produced later. Furthermore, pharmacological and biochemical analyses reveal auxin levels are decreased in the OE lines but increased in the knockout mutants.

    Our results suggest that evolutionarily, ethylene and auxin molecular networks were recruited to build the plant body plan in ancestral land plants. This might have played a role in enabling ancient plants to acclimate to the continental surfaces of the planet.

     
    more » « less
  5. Plant shoots grow from stem cells within shoot apical meristems (SAMs), which produce lateral organs while maintaining the stem cell pool. In the model flowering plant Arabidopsis , the CLAVATA (CLV) pathway functions antagonistically with cytokinin signaling to control the size of the multicellular SAM via negative regulation of the stem cell organizer WUSCHEL (WUS). Although comprising just a single cell, the SAM of the model moss Physcomitrium patens (formerly Physcomitrella patens ) performs equivalent functions during stem cell maintenance and organogenesis, despite the absence of WUS-mediated stem cell organization. Our previous work showed that the stem cell–delimiting function of the receptors CLAVATA1 (CLV1) and RECEPTOR-LIKE PROTEIN KINASE2 (RPK2) is conserved in the moss P. patens . Here, we use P. patens to assess whether CLV–cytokinin cross-talk is also an evolutionarily conserved feature of stem cell regulation. Application of cytokinin produces ectopic stem cell phenotypes similar to Ppclv1a , Ppclv1b , and Pprpk2 mutants. Surprisingly, cytokinin receptor mutants also form ectopic stem cells in the absence of cytokinin signaling. Through modeling, we identified regulatory network architectures that recapitulated the stem cell phenotypes of Ppclv1a , Ppclv1b , and Pprpk2 mutants, cytokinin application, cytokinin receptor mutations, and higher-order combinations of these perturbations. These models predict that Pp CLV1 and Pp RPK2 act through separate pathways wherein Pp CLV1 represses cytokinin-mediated stem cell initiation, and Pp RPK2 inhibits this process via a separate, cytokinin-independent pathway. Our analysis suggests that cross-talk between CLV1 and cytokinin signaling is an evolutionarily conserved feature of SAM homeostasis that preceded the role of WUS in stem cell organization. 
    more » « less